Observing Highlights - Jan-Jun 2006

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M20, Trifid Nebula - June 30, 2006

The conditions at Cattle Point were very good, especially as I was shooting this image over the water in a SE direction.  I tried pushing my new Canon 30D dSLR to ISO 3200 for this image, and it seems to have worked out quite well.

Joe Carr

M11/NGC 6705 The Wild Duck Cluster - 29 June 2006

Taken : 29 June 2006 from Cattle Point

Charles Banville

M17, Omega Nebula (also called the Swan) - June 28, 2006

Location: Cattle Point

John McDonald

M16/NGC 6611 The Eagle Nebula - 27 June 2006

Taken from : Cattle Point

Charles Banville

M8, M20 & M21 - June 27, 2006

Charles, David and I had very fine conditions for imaging at Cattle Point last night. No Moon, No Wind, Good seeing and visibility. I got what I think is my best wide field image yet. I could just get M8, M20 and M21 all in the field and I like seeing these wonderful objects all together. It helps to get a sense of their scale and separation.

John McDonald

Gamma Cygni Region - 26 June 2006

Wide angle picture of Cygnus taken with Canon 50mm lens (covers approximately 25 by 17 degrees). The bright star on the left is 37 Gamma Cygni (Sadr). Notice the nebulosity in that region. 6 Beta Cygni (Albireo) is located to the right of Sadr.

Charles Banville

Sagittarius Star Cloud Region - 26 June 2006

John McDonald and I ended up going to Cattle Point on Sunday and Monday nights. As you may have seen already, John took a wonderful shot of both M20 and M8. For my part, I decided to try out wide field astrophotography. This is the first of two shots I captured using the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. Unfortunately sky glow turned out to be problematic and part of the original frame was taken out.

Some objects of interest in this picture: M16 The Eagle Nebula, M17 The Lagoon Nebula, M18, M25, M24 The Sagittarius Stat Cloud a.k.a. Delle Caustiche, M23, M21, M20 The Trifid Nebula, M22, M8 The Lagoon Nebula, M28 and a lot more...

Charles Banville

M13 - June 25, 2006

Last night at Astronomy hill was really great. After the Centre of the Universe closed (that sounds ominous), Several of us stayed on to do some imaging. I focused my time on M13 and got a result I am happy with. I have attached two versions. The first is a blow up of the cluster and includes about 25% of the full frame (by height). The second is a low resolution version of the full frame. I have marked the location of M13 (pretty obvious) as well as NGC6207 (which you may be able to see just to the left of the text). NGC 6207 is an 11.6 magnitude galaxy and is a fairly evident elongated smudge on the full resolution version.

John McDonald

M51 - Whirlpool Galaxy - June 24, 2006

I acquired 30 images of M51 on Observatory Hill Saturday night using my Canon 30D at prime focus on my LX-90. 14 of the images were of suitable quality to stack. This is my first image of M51 in which some detail is visible - it is an exceedingly dim object!

The "b" version has the supernova highlighted.

Joe Carr

M8 The Lagoon Nebula & NGC 6523 - 24 June 2006

The globular star cluster in the bottom left corner of the frame is NGC 6544. Taken  from Pearson College.

Charles Banville

M17/NGC 6618 The Swan Nebula - June 24, 2006

Finally some clear skies. I went to Pearson College last night and was rewarded with some good seeing conditions. Although Sagittarius is fairly low in the sky from our location in Victoria, I managed to get some fair results imaging the Swan Nebula.

Charles Banville

NGC 5000 - North American Nebula - June 24, 2006

Location: Cattle Point
Telescope: WO 105mm with WO 0.8x flattener/reducer
Camera: Pentax ist-DS
Exposures 17 - 30 second shots at ISO 800
Processing in ImagesPlus, Photoshop and NeatImage

John McDonald

M8 - Lagoon Nebula - NGC6530 cluster - June 24, 2006 12:43am

Guy Walton, John McDonald and I setup at Cattle Point as a last minute arrangement, however I think we are all glad we made the effort.  The sky was spongy in spots, but otherwise stable, yielding some very good images.  This is my second try at photographing the Lagoon Nebula, and my first image of a deep space object using my new Canon 30D dSLR.

21 images used out of 30 taken, with Dark Frames applied. Please refer to my Deep Space personal website for image details.  Joe Carr

M31 Andromeda Galaxy and M110 - June 23, 2006

I processed 11, 30 sec. exposures at ISO 800 and 10 Darks with DeepSky Imager. Adjusted stack with PhotoShop CS2 and Noise Ninja. If I can figure how to use Images Plus, I am sure the results will be better. Camera was Nikon D50 on an Orion 100mm, F9 ED Refractor at prime focus.  Guy Walton

Mars, M44 Saturn Conjunction - June 10-18, 2006 - I managed a total of six observations of the wonderful merging of Mars, M44 and Saturn.

The panel of six sketches (inverted) chronicles the movement of Mars from west of the Bee Hive Cluster (M44), through the cluster, then on to and past Saturn. The linked circles are the twinning of the adjacent two-degree FOV provided by a 40mm eyepiece in my f/8 6� dob. Start at the upper left and move down, then go back up and read down on the right.

Follow the little pale orange dot as it moves across the field. South is up. Saturn�s movement away from M44 was apparent, but pales in comparison to the speed with which Mars moved through the sky. This was a really fun project to do. Bill Weir

Europa Shadow Transit of Jupiter - June 10, 2006 11:34pm-12:34am (11th) - Guy and I stayed to enjoy the clear skies after the public left Observatory Hill on Saturday night. I took a series of 24 resultant images using the Meade LPI webcam and Envisage software on a Meade LX-90 f/10 SCT. The image to the right is the first in the sequence - the clearest image.  The shadow of Europa is clearly visible below the equatorial band.  Europa is transiting Jupiter within the same band on the right side, however it is not visible

The movie file consists of all 24 images in sequence, which shows the shadow transiting the planet, and also illustrates how the "seeing" was quite variable.  Joe Carr

Time Lapse Movie (29 seconds, 320x240, 293k WMV) Hint: Right Click on movie link and "Save target as..." to download and play on your desktop.

Mars - M44 - Saturn - June 10, 2006 - Saturday night I setup in the heart of Metchosin on the Cricket Pitch to get the best view to the west that I could. Despite the nearly full Moon, bright western horizon and the wind I was able to take in a magical sight. I capture this view at around 2330hrs PDT, as viewed through my little 6" Dob at 30X with a TFOV of 2 degrees. I linked together the adjacent fields for this sketch. I then inverted it but retained the glistening red dot of Mars. Atmospheric extintion and twilight obliterated all but one bright star close Mars. - Bill Weir
M13 - May 18, 2006 - Looks like M13 was the target of choice last Thursday. I used my NP-101 coupled to a 2x Powermate in my attempt at capturing this globular cluster.Only 9 shots out of 40 made it passed "quality control". Turns out that shooting at a focal length of over 1000mm is quite the challenge.

Charles Banville

Jupiter - May 18, 2006, 10:30pm

This image was taken from the lower parking lot on Observatory Hill.  We experienced quite stable viewing in the direction Jupiter was located over the city, which was surprising. The amount of colour saturation in the equatorial bands yields almost a chocolate brown colour.

Joe Carr

Jupiter & moons - May 14, 2006 - Got some images of Jupiter showing the red spot the evening of May 14. David, Joe and I went to the hill and were rewarded with a very nice evening. The weather was exceptionally good with warm wind free conditions and excellent seeing until around midnight. I got several sequences of exposures of Jupiter all of which were reasonably good. The attached represents the best one and my personal best to date for this planet.

John McDonald

Io Shadow Transit of Jupiter - May 13, 2006

After the public left the Centre of the Universe, several Victoria Centre members remained to enjoy the clear and fairly stable observing conditions. Since there was a full Moon, I decided to stick with planetary viewing.  My target was Jupiter.  This is my first time lapse video of a planet in motion, and it shows the shadow transit of Io, one of Jupiter's moons.

Joe Carr

Io Shadow Transit of Jupiter - May 13, 2006 - photo by Joe Carr

Time Lapse Movie (15 seconds, 320x240, 284k WMV) Hint: Right Click on movie link and "Save target as..." to download and play on your desktop.

M13 Hercules Cluster - May 13, 2006 - I finally figured what I was doing wrong with freeware program DeepSkyStacker and now the images are registering correctly. Here are some results. M13 was taken last night at the DAO. The bright moon probably reduced the overall quality but for me, this is my third night out to do imaging and I am happy with the results.

Guy Walton

The Moon - May 13, 2006

I have been wishing the moon wasn't so bright on some of the clear nights as I am anxious to try some deep sky imaging. However, it is was there and I decided I might as well enjoy it. My image shows some nice detail of the nearly full moon.

John McDonald

The Moon - May 13, 2006 - I finally had an opportunity where the weather and desire coincided with some astro-imaging. After accumulating some equipment over the winter I had a chance to try out the DSI Pro and the MiniBorg 45ED.

David Lee

Jupiter's Red Spot - May 9, 2006

I had a go at imaging Jupiter's Great Red Spot and was pleased that I could capture it with the camera as well as visually. The attached shows the result.

John McDonald

Moon - May 7, 2006

Here is an image of the Moon taken with A Nikon D50 at ISO 800 on my Orion 100mm, f9 ED refractor.

Guy Walton

M57 Ring Nebula and Comet 73/P Schwassmann-Wachmann - May 7, 2006 -  I tried my new DSLR for the first time on M57 with the hopes of capturing the comet.. et Voila... a modest success.  Telescope.... Orion 80 ED F/7 , one single 1 minute exposure at ISO 800. tracking on EQ5 mount with minimal alignment. Now to learn about processing,,, my next challenge.

Bruno Quenneville

M81 - May 2, 2006 - After seeing a demonstration of Neat Image from Joe a few weeks ago I proceeded in acquiring the aforementioned program.  Here's my shot of M81 taken from Cattle Point on May 2, 2006 processed with Neat Image.

Charles Banville

Comet 73/P Schwassmann-Wachmann - May 2, 2006 - Image taken at Cattle Point using my Orion 100 f/9 ED refractor on EQ4 mount with a Nikon D50 at 30 seconds with NR on.  I stacked 3 images using a freeware program called Deep Sky Stacker.

Guy Walton

Comet 73/P Schwassman-Wachmann - May 2, 2006 - Taken at Cattle Point when the comet was in Hercules. 68 Herculis is in the field of view of the photo below the comet. Schwassman-Wachmann C 73/P has a very distinct tadpole shape. I don't see two nuclei either visually or in this image. Joe Carr
M51 Whirlpool Galaxy & M104 Sombrero Galaxy - Apr 21, 2006 - both using a Meade 10" LX-6 SCT at f/3.3 and an SBIG 2000XM CCD imager, 30 second exposure processed with Maxim DL.

Photos by Mona Aditya, Tomas Jagelka & Mark Wheen, Pearson College

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann - April 22, 2006 - A few of us met at Pearson College last night. I had a great time although transparency wasn't the best. I took shots of the Leo Triplet and comet Schwassmann-Wachmann.

Comet 73P:
Telescope: Tele Vue NP-101
Camera: Canon 20Da
Vixen GP-DX equatorial mount, tracking but no guiding
Exposures: 3X60 sec @ISO 800 Processed with Images Plus.

Telescope: Tele Vue NP-101
Camera: Canon 20Da
Vixen GP-DX equatorial mount, tracking but no guiding
Exposures: 11X60 sec @ISO 800 Processed with Images Plus.

Charles Banville

Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann

Leo Triplet

73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann - April 14, 2006

Over the past week I've had a chance to observe this interesting periodic comet a total of three times. It returns approximately every 5yrs. In 1995 it fractured into three components that now travel around together. They are separated from each other by a couple of degrees.

At present the two brightest parts (B & C) are quite easily visible telescopically as they travel through Bootes heading towards Hercules. If you want to read more about them all sorts of information including a very accurate finder chart is available here.

Even with the bright Moon on the 5th I was able to find them both quite easily with my 6" dob. The night before I'd observed them with my 12.5" dob but was just faintly able to spot them with it's 12X80 mm finder. I'd estimate them both to be between 9th and 10th magnitude. The attached sketch I did using my 12.5" dob at 317X. Their movement in the sky was quite apparent over the period of time I observed them. That star at the tip of the coma in the top sketch was close to the pseudo nucleus 1.5 hrs earlier.

I hope others get the chance to observe them or even better yet get a nice wide-field shot. I've seen one and they both show up quite well.

Bill Weir

Total Solar Eclipse from south of Tobruk, Libya - Mar 29, 2006

Sequences approaching both Diamond rings and one at totality; also first contact, which I was pleased to record with the slightest indication. The sunspots show up quite well on the western limb.

See Michael Web's Online Gallery for more photos in the series.

Total Solar Eclipse from the Libyan Sahara Desert - March 29, 2006

As we counted down to First Contact, people were really getting excited. Finally, "first contact" was shouted out, and we all looked up to see the first chunk of the Sun being eclipsed by the Moon. What a strange site! Over the next few minutes more and more of the Sun was eclipsed, until we could feel the temperature of the Saharan heat start to drop. Next came a strange change in the colour of the surrounding light. As things started to darken more, the temperature also dropped more - a total of 7 or 8�C by the end.

At Second Contact, the Moon totally eclipsed the Sun, and the Diamond Ring (see my image above) appeared for a brief few seconds, closely followed by Baily's Beads and solar flares. What a site, and it happens so quickly! Then for 4 minutes we have the total eclipse to enjoy and photograph. The Sun's corona was magnificent, flowing outward from the Sun in huge streamers. I was taking photographs all through the sequence, and will have several more to share on my website once I return home. The full eclipse phase is so strange, since no solar filters are needed to observe the Sun while fully-eclipsed by the Moon.

Too soon we came to Third Contact, where we have to again use solar filters, since the energy of the Sun is now at full strength. Some of our group observed until Fourth Contact, making observations along the way. Being less dedicated, I stopped photographing during this phase, and just enjoyed the occasional glance at the eclipsed sun through my binoculars.

Joe Carr

Partial Eclipse from Santorini, Greece - March 29, 2006

Here is a set containing a few of the images I took of the partial eclipse of the sun on April 29 from Fira, Santorini, Greece. I tried to get to the island of Kastellorizo where there would be totality but it was difficult to do so I settled for a partial. The first shot was from the previous day when the weather was great. However on the 29th, the weather was variable cloudy and windy making it difficult to get a consistent set. If you look closely you can make out sunspots on the 2nd, third and fourth images. John McDonald

M42 - Orion Nebula - Feb 10, 2006

Joe Carr invited us to Observers Hill for what turned out to be a clear night with some good views. There was a nearly full moon but the clear air was a treat after a long period of muck. I spent the whole evening collecting photons of the Orion Nebula region with my wide angle setup. These two images represent a combination of the material I got on Friday evening with previous shots from October 11, 2005.  John McDonald

Saturn - Feb 2, 2006 - - using a C8 at f/20 and an SBIG ST 2000xm CCD imager, 100 images stacked using Maxim DL. Photo by Sebastian Arroyo at Pearson College.
Saturn & Beehive Cluster - Jan 31, 2006 - Did anyone else manage to take advantage of the short break in the monsoons? I went to Pearson tonight for the class but no one showed. When the wind started to blow the clouds away I was the winner. I dragged out the school's 10" dob and put my 40mm widefield eyepiece in it. The almost 2 degree FOV it gave just fit the bill. Jan 31st is the day that Saturn is closest to M44. It's only 0.9� from its centre. Here is a sketch of what I saw. It was a view, that I think I will remember forever.  Bill Weir


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